Purdue University Graduate School
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Communication Privacy Management: Exploring Health Communication in Families

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posted on 2023-04-22, 04:13 authored by Deborah Eyram AnornuDeborah Eyram Anornu

Health communication is a growing field of research under interpersonal and family communication. Gaining enough health information is primarily the duty of healthcare providers. However, our immediate source of health information is family members; but most people decide to privatize and keep their health information from other relatives. The criterion for withholding health information, what contributes to the information shared, and how communication patterns affect health communication were all examined to understand the reasons behind this action.

This qualitative study used the narrations on health communication from various families to form themes. In addition,  responses were mostly from non-Western cultures, which helps to expand the applicability of the theory used.

Some of the results were consistent with the criteria within the theory. However, other criteria were found that expand the theory in relation to health information. The new criteria found were when disclosing the information, age matter, I don’t understand the condition myself so how can my family, the number of people in the family matters. Also, reasons such as anticipated reactions from family members, and the severity of the condition came up when exploring what impacts how much health information family members share with one another. Finally, the frequency of communication and the initiator of conservations were found to influence health communication in families.

To conclude, healthy communication in the family may impact individual communication on health. 


Degree Type

  • Master of Arts


  • Communication

Campus location

  • Fort Wayne

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Sarah Leblanc

Additional Committee Member 2

Heloisa Wilkerson

Additional Committee Member 3

Marcia Dixson